No Pain, Big Gain

Help Is On The Way

Recent concerns about repetitive motion injuries are driving the demand for back stores' products and services. According to Bureau of Labor statistics, back injuries account for 26 percent of all workplace injuries/illnesses, and employers concerned about workers' compensation claims are scrambling to take preventive measures.

"Employers are increasingly interested in providing comfortable, healthy work environments," says Anthony Mazlish, 33, founder and president of Newington, Virginia-based The Healthy Back Store Inc. Aside from selling smaller back-support products, beds and chairs, The Healthy Back also works with employers to provide employees with ergonomically sound chairs, desks and computer stations. To this end, Mazlish includes a detailed workplace evaluation form on his company's Web site ( to obtain precise measurements of leg and arm lengths for orders of custom-designed ergonomic furniture.

"The greater the proliferation of computers at all levels of the work force and the more sedentary the work force, the more back pain there is, and the more you're going to need these types of chairs," says Mazlish, a back-pain sufferer himself, who opened the first Healthy Back Store in Rockville, Maryland, in 1994. With Mazlish's recent acquisition of three Natural Back Stores in Southern California (which are now called The Healthy Back), The Healthy Back chain is now eight stores strong.

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This article was originally published in the September 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: No Pain, Big Gain.

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